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The Canadian Adaptive Network strives to be a catalyst for more inclusive communities. Often the needs of persons with functional limitations go unnoticed because we do not often imagine living in any other body but our own. This audio clip simulates what it would be like to have a hearing impairment. We challenge you to an unfair hearing test! Grab a pen and paper! What do you hear?

One of CAN's community's core values is being able to enjoy everything nature has to offer. How can Fernie residents and visitors, of all ages and abilities, find ways to access and interact with the natural world around them? Mass Audubon's 'All Persons Trails' supports the exploration of the wonderful wilderness by all types of users. They do this by creating trails that are not only physically accessible but also offer a multi-sensory experience; smell, sound, and touch are all valuable and important parts of the journey. Their use of communication and information opens up trails to be explored by a diverse population.

The Canadian Adaptive Network is a registered Society based in the Elk Valley. CAN was formed after a visioning workshop held in Fernie in December 2017. The workshop was attended by people with disabilities, family members, and interested members of the public. Stories shared by workshop participants highlighted the need for increased awareness of the growing number of people with functional limitations (which includes seniors) in the Elk Valley and the need for greater accessibility and inclusion.

VISION
CAN is a catalyst for creation of an inclusive society where people with functional limitations have equal opportunity to participate in activities of their choosing and be defined by who they are, rather than by what they can or cannot do.

MISSION

Build a collaborative network for the coordination of services, creation of effective communication, reinforcement of existing organizations, and provision of a gateway for information regarding best practices, standards for adaptive design, and flexible and diverse programs and facilities aimed at achieving readily recognizable and measurable change.

The purposes of CAN include:
• Fostering awareness of the needs of persons with functional limitations;
• Improving the quality of life for all persons, including persons with functional limitations;
• Increasing awareness of social issues, particularly for those persons with functional limitations;
• Engaging in educational activities to change perceptions of persons with functional limitations and to provide informational resources to persons with functional limitations; and,
• Providing networking opportunities for other organizations and individuals with similar purposes.

Definitions:
Functional limitations are defined as any way, mentally or physically, in which a person’s condition affects their ability to function on a day to day basis.
Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
Debate continues regarding the use of the term “disability”; however, because of its broad definition as well as its widespread use in everyday language, CAN uses both “functional limitations” and “disability” in its communications.

Creating Accessible Communities in the Elk Valley: Phase 1
CAN has received funding for Phase I of a broader, multi-year, multi-community project. The goal of the broader project is to generate reliable information and increase awareness in order to produce improvements in accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in the Elk Valley.

Project Goals and Objectives:
The goals of Phase 1 are to achieve greater understanding and awareness of barriers to participation in community life by people with disabilities and to identify opportunities for greater inclusion through social and physical accessibility improvements.
The objectives of Phase 1 are: (1) Assess and distribute information on the quality, accessibility and affordability of existing facilities and services in Fernie and nearby RDEK locations against national and global standards; (2) Collect and evaluate information on how persons with disabilities or functional limitations participate in meaningful activities in Fernie, Area A RDEK, Elkford and Sparwood; and (3) identify accessibility gaps to be filled.

Phase 1 Outcomes:

Skills
• A CAN Board member – Louisa Cotton - has successfully completed the Rick Hansen Foundation course in accessibility and is now a Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification professional
• CAN project team members will learn and apply mapping skills for production of on-line map products for use by the public (e.g., finding accessible restaurants or hotel rooms)
• CAN project team members will work with community organizations and municipal personnel to learn about planning, designing, and constructing the social and physical environment from the perspective of people with disabilities

Knowledge
• Officials and the public will better understand the current accessibility situation in Fernie and nearby locations in RDEK Area A
• Officials and the public will learn about the social and economic benefits of increased accessibility
• The online accessibility tool can become a tool for continuous improvement

Behaviour
• Increased awareness will influence officials and business owners and lead them to incorporate social and physical accessibility into their plans
• Increased public awareness will elevate the issue of accessibility and inclusion in public discourse and the political process
• Increased public awareness will improve the quality of social interactions for people with disabilities due to changes in the public’s attitude

The Canadian Adaptive Network society thank the sponsors and attendees for making the Disability Awareness Night so wonderful.

CAN's objective was to generate awareness about who and what we are, and to raise money for our coming project. The goal of our coming project is to generate reliable information and increase awareness in order to produce improvements in accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in the Elk Valley. Read more here.

For those of you who couldn't attend here is the agenda from the evening:

Agenda

Welcome and Introduction by Scott Courtemanche

“Yes I Can” Video

CAN Introduction by Stella Swanson

“Ascend” Video

Presenting & Q and A by Tanelle Bolt

“Rob Engil” Video

“I’mPossible” Introduction by Scott Courtemanche

“I’mPossible” video

Presenting & Q and A by Grace Brulotte

Supporter and Volunteer Thanks by Dan Savage

We thank the following individuals and businesses for their generosity:

Angela Morgan
Barkside
Beanpod
Beyond the Summit
Big Bang Bagels
Canyon Rafting Company
Claris Media
Columbia Basin Trust
Elevation Showcase
Fernie Alpine Resort - Summit Fund
Fernie Brewing Company
Fernie Fix
Fernie RV Resort
Fernie Wilderness Adventures
GearHub Sports
Giv’er Shirtworks
Healing Hollow
John Poirier
Kyle Hamilton and Colleen Gentemann for the film “I’mPossible”
Kyle Hamilton Photography
Logan Bonwell for the film “Rob Engil”
Nevados
Park Place Lodge
Polar Peak Books
Savage Marketing
Simon Perkins for the film “Ascend”
Ski Base
Spa 901
Swanson Environmental Strategies
Tanelle Bolt
Teck
Rooftop Coffee Roasters
The Royal

In March 1985, Rick Hansen set out on the Man in Motion World Tour which set the stage for his life’s work – a journey that opened the eyes of the world to the potential of people with disabilities. The Rick Hansen Foundation was established as a Canadian charity in 1988 and has since been dedicated to Rick’s life-long goal of creating an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential.

For three decades, the Foundation has raised awareness, changed attitudes, and removed barriers for people with disabilities, as well as fund spinal cord injury research and care. While they’ve made great strides towards creating an accessible and inclusive world, there’s still more work to be done.

The vision is an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential.

Their mission is to inspire leaders, influencers, and the public to join Rick Hansen in creating a global movement to remove barriers in the built environment and thereby liberate the potential of people living with disabilities.

They develop programs and initiatives that raise awareness, change attitudes and remove barriers for people with disabilities in the built environment. Learn more about their awareness and accessibility programs and initiatives.

At CAN we plan to work closely with the Rick Hansen Foundation to help Elk Valley Residents gain access to their communities and being accessible is good for business. Here’s why.

We want the freedom to move easily and safely through our own communities. We want to work, shop, play, and learn wherever we call home. Essentially, we want to get to where we need to go, and accomplish what we need to do.

When people with disabilities are unable to enter or make their way through a building, whether it’s a business, an office, or a community centre, we lose their potential. As a valued employee. A loyal customer. An active participant. Even if it’s unintentional, the message they receive is that their needs are different and, for whatever reason, can’t be met.

Canada prides itself on being a country that champions diversity and cares for its people. Improving accessibility is one more way to do that. It naturally encourages inclusion. And it makes our communities stronger and more sustainable.

“It isn’t negotiable,” Rick Hansen said in a CBC interview in 2016, on the issue of improved access. “We’re not just saying [to people with disabilities], ‘You’re lucky to get in the building.’ You’re a Canadian – you get in the building.”

With one in five Canadian adults expected to have a disability by 2036, due in part to our aging population, it’s critical we rethink how we access and use all our spaces.

The bottom line: Improving access is the right thing to do.

But did you know there’s another bottom line to consider? It’s a big one. Improving the accessibility of our business and institutions will have a huge economic impact, adding billions of dollars to our economy every year.

Information About CAN
The Canadian Adaptive Network is a registered Society based in the Elk Valley.

VISION
CAN is a catalyst for creation of an inclusive society where people with functional limitations have equal opportunity to participate in activities of their choosing and be defined by who they are, rather than by what they can or cannot do.

MISSION
Build a collaborative network for the coordination of services, creation of effective communication, reinforcement of existing organizations, and provision of a gateway for information regarding best practices, standards for adaptive design, and flexible and diverse programs and facilities aimed at achieving readily recognizable and measurable change.
The purposes of CAN include:
• Fostering awareness of the needs of persons with functional limitations;
• Improving the quality of life for all persons, including persons with functional limitations;
• Increasing awareness of social issues, particularly for those persons with functional limitations;
• Engaging in educational activities to change perceptions of persons with functional limitations and to provide informational resources to persons with functional limitations; and,
• Providing networking opportunities for other organizations and individuals with similar purposes.

CAN: Everyone wants access.

Definitions
Functional limitations are defined as any way, mentally or physically, in which a person’s condition affects their ability to function on a day to day basis.
Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives (International Classification of Function - World Health Organization).

Debate continues regarding the use of the term “disability”; however, because of its broad definition as well as its widespread use in everyday language, CAN uses both “functional limitations” and “disability” in its communications.

Project Background
This application is for Phase 1 of a broader, multi-year, multi-community project. The goal of the broader project is to generate reliable information and increase awareness in order to produce improvements in accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in the Elk Valley and, eventually, the rest of the East Kootenays and beyond.

Project Goals and Objectives
The goals of Phase 1 are to achieve greater understanding and awareness of barriers to participation in community life by people with disabilities and to identify opportunities for greater inclusion through social and physical accessibility improvements. The objectives of Phase 1 are: (1) Assess and distribute information on the quality, accessibility and affordability of existing facilities and services in Fernie and nearby RDEK Area A locations against national and global standards; (2) Collect and evaluate information on how persons with disabilities or functional limitations participate in meaningful activities in Fernie, Area A RDEK, Elkford and Sparwood (3) increase awareness among school students, teachers and parents; and, (4) identify accessibility gaps to be filled. Objective (4) will include identification of economic and social benefits of specific accessibility and inclusion projects.

Phase 1 Outcomes
Skills
• Three CAN members will become Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification professionals
• Project team members will learn and apply mapping skills for production of on-line map products
• Fernie and RDEK personnel will learn from the CAN deliverables about compliance and gaps related to relevant human rights and accessibility legislation, regulations, and Universal Design standards
• Fernie and RDEK planning and construction personnel will learn from the CAN deliverables about planning, designing, and constructing the social and physical environment from the perspective of people with disabilities.

Knowledge
• Officials and the public will better understand the current accessibility situation in Fernie and nearby locations in RDEK Area A
• School students, teachers and parents in Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford will have increased awareness regarding the need to create inclusive and accessible communities
• Officials and the public will learn about the social and economic benefits of increased accessibility
• The online accessibility tool can become a tool for continuous improvement

Behaviour
• Increased awareness will influence officials and business owners and lead them to incorporate social and physical accessibility into their plans
• Increased public awareness will elevate the issue of accessibility and inclusion in public discourse and the political process
• increased public awareness will improve the quality of social interactions for people with disabilities due to changes in the public’s attitude

Phase 1 Deliverables

1. Accessibility database and map for the City of Fernie and nearby areas of RDEK Area A
2. Documentary film showings with discussions at Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford schools; the film features a CAN board member, Grace Brulotte, as she heli-skis – illustrating what people with disabilities can do. Questions from students as well as their reactions will be noted and reported.
3. Literature review of inclusive communities, social and physical accessibility and definitions and standards resource list.
4. Research Report - “How do persons with disabilities or functional limitations participate in meaningful activities in Fernie, Area A RDEK, Elkford and Sparwood?”
5. A report which presents accessibility gaps and opportunities for improvement in the City of Fernie and nearby areas of RDEK Area A.

Measures of Success
• Several other organizations collaborate with CAN
• Funding for Phase 1 is obtained from additional sources
• Acceptance of the findings of Phase 1 by health care professionals and by individuals with functional limitations
• Fernie and RDEK Area A decision-makers accept and apply the findings of Phase 1
• The online accessibility resource is widely used and people provide input to the resource for continuous improvement
• The project leads to completed accessibility and inclusion projects in Fernie and RDEK Area A
• Future funding for the next phase of the overall project is obtained

Project Methods

Accessibility Assessment

CAN personnel who have obtained their Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification will conduct the assessment of accessibility in the City of Fernie and nearby locations in RDEK Area A (e.g., Fernie Alpine Resort, Island Lake Lodge, Mount Fernie Provincial Park). Public buildings and spaces and commercial buildings will be the focus of the assessment. Information will be captured in real time using portable electronic devices such as tablets and transferred to a standardized database. The database format will be chosen from among readily available, practical, and flexible database frameworks available free or at low cost. Information from the database will be transferred to on-line resource tools which can be accessed from mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

Literature Review and Interviews
The research component of Phase 1 will consist of a literature review and key informant interviews.
The research question is “How do persons with disabilities or functional limitations participate in meaningful activities in the Elk Valley?”

Relevant literature will be reviewed to obtain standard accessibility guidelines to determine how other communities (globally) have developed an inclusive society. The review will consider the economic and social benefits of inclusion using a social model of disability and a rights-based approach as theoretical frameworks.
Twenty key informant interviews will be conducted with key stakeholders selected from a stakeholder map of the study area. The stakeholder map will include health care professionals, people with disabilities, and family members. A questionnaire will be developed using accepted qualitative research methods. The questionnaire will generate information on how persons with disabilities and functional limitations participate, or do not participate in the community.

Interview results will be analysed to identify emerging and recurring themes of participation and barriers to participation by using thematic content analysis. Thematic content analysis interprets qualitative data by counting how many times a recurring theme appears in the narratives from interviews. It is also sensitive to outlier narratives that can often unlock hidden ideas.
The analysis of interview results will be the basis of recommendations to strengthen local policy and fill policy gaps. Theories about participation that can be transferred to other communities in the Elk Valley will also be developed.

“Film Screenings of “I’mpossible”at Schools

“I’mpossible” demonstrates how perspective can be the catalyst in reaching new heights. From moving metaphorical mountains to challenging the Southern BC Rocky and Purcell Mountain Ranges, Grace Brulotte shows us that disability is just a variation of the human experience. Follow an inspirational journey, captured through the lens of Laundromat Studios, as Grace becomes the first female tandem sit skier to Heli ski in Canada.” Kyle Hamilton is the cinematographer and the production received great support from the community of Fernie. The film features Fernie Alpine Resort, Fernie Wilderness Adventures, and Purcell Heliskiing.
The objective of the film screenings is to shift attitudes towards people with disabilities, and show they can do anything they set their minds to, just like anyone else. The film is not just about heliskiing and making history, it is about showing that those with disabilities are able to achieve a full life, however they see it. “I’mpossible” is about the struggle, the challenges faced and conquered, and the goals achieved that people said were unattainable. The film screening will be followed by games that simulate different disabilities. Students will be “given” autism, a spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, a visual impairment, etc. The experience will centre around perspective, and how inclusion and acceptance begin when perspective changes and people view each other as humans. Grace Brulotte will give a motivational speech followed, if time permits, by a Q and A session. Schools we’d like to include are Isabella Dicken Elementary School, Fernie Secondary School, Max Turyk (French School), College of the Rockies, The Fernie Academy, Frank J Mitchell Elementary School, Sparwood Secondary School, Rocky Mountain Elementary School, Elkford Secondary School, and Jaffray Elementary/Jr Secondary School. Feedback received during the screenings will be documented.

Additional Potential Funding Sources
CAN has not yet approached other funding sources; however, we intend to do so. Potential funders identified to date are:
• Columbia Basin Trust Social Grants
• Teck
• BC Hydro
• Vancouver Foundation
• East Kootenay Credit Union